For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity , Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de' Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci's earliest masterpieces.Read more...
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For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity, Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de' Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci's earliest masterpieces.
The young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy family, Ginevra longs to share her poetry and participate in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence but is trapped in an arranged marriage in a society dictated by men. The arrival of the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers. Bembo chooses Ginevra as his Platonic muse and commissions a portrait of her by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them, one Ginevra only begins to understand. In a rich and vivid world of exquisite art with a dangerous underbelly of deadly political feuds, Ginevra faces many challenges to discover her voice and artistic companionship--and to find love.
- ISBN-13: 9780060744243
- ISBN-10: 0060744243
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publish Date: November 2015
- Page Count: 304
- Reading Level: Ages 13-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.79 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-24
- Reviewer: Staff
“I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger.” This is the only surviving sentence from the poetry of Ginevra de’ Benci, who posed for a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 1470s. The creation of this portrait is the subject of Elliott’s (Flying South) delicately beautiful novel. Ginevra, a well-educated and intelligent young woman, seeks intellectual and romantic fulfillment in the aristocratic circles of Florence. Her arranged marriage, while friendly, is dull, and the ambassador from Venice, Bernardo Bembo, wants her to be his Platonic muse—a Renaissance form of romance in which a man idealizes a woman, declaring that he will meditate on her beauty, grace, and virtue to guide his soul to God. Bembo’s love can give Ginevra access to the sparkling life of the court, but she finds the painter he hires for her portrait very distracting indeed. Elliott’s novel is thoroughly researched, portraying three-dimensional characters in a lively atmosphere of love and art. Renaissance Florence breathes through this book, bringing readers to a fuller understanding of the portrait, the era, and an indomitable young woman. Ages 13–up. (Nov.)